We usually think of blisters in a negative way. They can hurt, if not looked after can cause infection, and depending where they are, have a frustrating tendency to get in the way. Another way of looking at blisters is that they are the result of hard work, usually after doing something that you’ve not been used to (like raking the grass, or more likely at this time of year, shoveling snow).
Abigail Van Buren (of Dear Abby fame) is quoted as saying “If you want a place in the sun, you have to put up with a few blisters”. In other words, sometimes in order to get where you want to be, there is hard work to be done. It just doesn’t show up at your doorstep.
As leaders we all know this — we live it almost every day. If I were to ask you I know you would come up with a number of examples. In my coaching practice one of my favorite questions to get the juices going is, “what is rattling around in your head right now?” Another is, “what is the biggest challenge you are facing right now?” It may take a few moments but soon two or three (or sometime even more) thoughts come tumbling out. Often the challenge involves having to step out of a comfort zone to accomplish a task or deal with a difficult situation or person. It is often about change and the challenges that creates. Whatever it is, being able to bounce thoughts and ideas off of someone can be very liberating.
Growth and continued learning is critical for leaders. It is not only how they keep up with current trends, but it also allows them to stay connected to others who may be going through similar challenges. Networking, mastermind and similar groups along with having a mentor or coach are all places leaders can keep connected. One of the biggest challenges I hear from leaders is that they feel disconnected, they have no one to talk to. To talk about and deal with the “blisters” they get almost every day.
So, think of blisters this way: they are a badge of honour for tackling and completing a job well done. For achieving goals and targets and for stepping out of your comfort zone. Blisters can be fun to see because they are a sign that you completed something difficult.